MICHEL THOMAS GERMAN 8-HOUR COMPLETE COURSE REVIEW

michel-thomas-german-foundationAn independent language course review by Lisa Zealey

The Michel Thomas 8-hour German course really gave me a head start when I tried it a year ago, before spending a week in West Germany on holiday. Michel’s technique of ‘audio only’- i.e. no books, pens or paper – is a far more flexible approach to language learning than most people are used to, simply because you don’t need to have any materials to do your study. I listened to these CDs on the train on my way to work, sitting in the bath and lying in bed! Michel gives the advice right from the beginning that you should be in a completely relaxed situation and have no tension in order to absorb the language taught so this is an ideal way to learn, especially for those like myself who find there are not enough hours in the day – no excuses now!

To someone who is thinking of buying this course, I think it is important to know that it is not like a phrase book and leaves out a lot of the ‘get-by’ vocabulary that you may need in Germany. What it does do though is give you a strong knowledge of the language grammatically so you have a good understanding of the ‘backbone’ of the language on which to build more and more vocabulary. Once you have the basic mechanics, you are over half way to communicating!

Michel Thomas gives you a strong knowledge of the language grammatically so you have a good understanding of the ‘backbone’ of the language on which to build more and more vocabulary.

So, how does it work? Michel Thomas’ technique is to record himself teaching two complete beginner students and for you to imagine you are the third student in his class. On these CDs he has one male and one female student in a classroom situation and I personally found it a very interesting and successful method. He starts off by introducing the language and usefully focuses on the similarities between English and German right from the beginning, talking about how many of the words we have already in our vocabulary are linked to German so in fact there is a lot we already know – definitely good news to a beginner! I found it a little confusing during the introduction when he started to talk about different sets of ‘pronunciation strings’ because it was hard to retain until put into context. His main point however, was that there are so many ways to ‘work out’ German words from English rather than have to remember them, eg, ‘to give’ is ‘geben’ because a ‘v’ in English often becomes a ‘b’ in German and verbs end in ‘-en’. He mentioned many other similar rules which certainly started to make sense and helped as time went on.

I found I could pick things up quite quickly by listening to him but it was useful to listen to each CD at least a couple of times before moving onto the next one. That way you really feel confident with what you know so far. Sometimes you can have the answer to something before the students and be ready to move on before they are but other times they can rush ahead and leave you feeling a little confused. This isn’t a problem – when you listen again it all becomes clear!

I’m sure your German accent will be much more convincing than that of the two students but Michel does a lot to correct pronunciation and is not happy until he hears each sound of each word! It’s just a case of practice, practice – no cheating allowed!

Michel insists that it is very important that you take time to think of your sentence grammatically and ‘work it out’ without rushing it. So the use of the pause button is essential for thinking it through. After listening to just the first few CDs you realise that you really can start to make your own phrases. His teaching allows grammar to be learned in a flexible way and completely avoids learning phrases by heart.

To assist you with retaining vocabulary, Michel often translates expressions literally into English or makes links through word association to help you remember some things. One example is the German word ‘bald’ meaning ‘soon’ (to be ‘bald soon’) and ‘heute abend’ meaning ‘tonight’ (literally ‘today evening’) – so no surprises there! Breaking expressions and sentences into their components avoids any mystery in the language such as when he introduced the phrase ‘es tut mir leid’ which is the equivalent to ‘I’m sorry’, but literally – ‘it does to me sorrow’.

The word order in German is something that can seem a little confusing at first but with practice becomes second nature and just starts to ‘sound right’. Michel constantly revises grammatical points so if it’s not quite clear immediately there’s no need to keep rewinding – he will come back to it!

The word order in German is something that can seem a little confusing at first but with practice becomes second nature and just starts to ‘sound right’.

By the end of CD 1 (only the first hour) your longest sentence will be “I don’t know where it is, I can’t find it”. Not bad going for the first lesson!

By CD 3 things get a little more tricky grammatically, but it is certainly worth persevering. Michel jokes with the students and talks them through their mistakes. By the end of CD 3 you will move onto expressing the future and make phrases such as “Will you please bring it to me” and (on CD 4) “I am going to stay at home today because I am very tired” covering some crucial German grammar points without you even realising it. By the end of CD 8, however, you will be combining all kinds of points of grammar covered throughout the whole course and you will certainly have achieved a lot, including a variety of different tenses. You can even move on to do a further two hours as a follow up if you are really keen – the Michel Thomas German Language Builder.

As I mentioned at the beginning there is a lot of vocabulary that you may need when visiting Gemany that is not covered in this course. From experience I would recommend combining this course with the Teach Yourself Instant German. They complement each other very well because Michel Thomas is more structure based, while ‘Instant German’ covers a lot of essential vocabulary to give you the confidence you need for your visit. With these two courses fully completed and a small phrasebook and dictionary to take with you for those tricky situations it is the recipe for success in Germany!

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MICHEL THOMAS ADVANCED SPANISH REVIEW

michel-thomas-spanish-advancedAn independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

The Michel Thomas 5-hour Advanced Spanish language course is an audio-only course (strictly no pens, paper or books) which follows on from the 8-hour course. The course is for advanced students (the title of ‘Michel Thomas Advanced Spanish’ makes this slightly obvious) but also for people who want a refresher course in a language they have already learnt to quite a good level. It follows Michel Thomas through four CDs as he teaches two students, who have already completed the 8-hour course, how to improve their Spanish. The course is not divided into specific lessons, but it is divided into tracks so it is easy to pick up from where you left off (that is if you remember which track you got up to!).

It was very strange hearing Michel Thomas for the first time as I have not done any of his previous courses. For some reason I expected a very cheesy sounding Frenchman (the cover photo of him gave me this impression). Granted you do get a French-sounding man, but he isn’t at all cheesy and does remind you of one of your old teachers (in a good way).

Because of the no pens, no paper and no books technique, you find that surprisingly the information really stays in your head.

I loved his method of teaching and the way that the CD was organised. There were no ‘typical’ scenario introductions and no ‘typical’ Spanish music (in other words this is not a typical foreign language audio course). Michel (first name terms already!) uses two students and teaches us along with them. They make mistakes and I found that they often made the same mistakes as I did, so this was handy! Michel is quick to correct them and not in a patronising way, which you sometimes get with these kind of courses. Because of the no pens, no paper and no books technique, you find that surprisingly the information really stays in your head. I’m not sure if this is down to the pure driven determination of learning a new language or Michel’s method of repetition – whenever a new structure is introduced, it is repeated several times until you just seem to get the hang of it.

The course is very structure and grammar orientated and there is no real day-to-day vocabulary included. This is not the type of course you would do if you were just looking to freshen up on your holiday lingo and learn how to buy something in a shop. This course is designed for people who want to learn the whole language and not just to learn how to get by.

The CDs obviously get harder as the course progresses. Despite this, Michel Thomas keeps on repeating things and continues to correct the students until the sentence is perfect. I think that the course content is manageable for people who want to be advanced at Spanish and are at an intermediate level at the moment. The CD content is good as it covers topics that you would have already covered elsewhere (in the 8-hour Michel Thomas course or in other Spanish lessons) but still goes on to introduce a lot of new structures. Michel tends not to spend too much time on grammar points which would already have been covered at an intermediate level, but he spends time on the new information to make your Spanish fluent. I think this is an ace way of revising and consolidating what you already know and then from this base going on to learn new things. I personally didn’t get bored recapping some of the Spanish I was already familiar with, as it was taught in a way that I had not experienced before.

One thing I must mention is about the students! It is a man and a woman … you have no idea what their names are, which personally I think is great. I hate the courses where you meet the characters and are supposed to feel some sort of connection, for all we know “Crystal” could be a 87 year old granny rather than a 19 year old gap year student. Anyway getting back to the Michel Thomas Spanish course … the one thing I did find annoying with the students was their accents. The man’s accent was bearable, but I had a slight problem with the woman’s accent. She had a tendency to emphasise every single sound of the word, which sometimes seemed as though she was trying too hard to pronounce things.

Michel Thomas cracks little jokes throughout the course (well I say jokes, but they are more like humorous comments. For example, he says “they’re in their own club, they want to keep it that way” where he is talking about the go-go verbs. I think that if anyone else tried to get away with this humour, it just wouldn’t work. But for Michel, teamed with his accent and the fact I have a small soft spot for him, he manages to pull it off and actually got a small chuckle from me.

I have never done an audio course which I have enjoyed doing as much as this one. The teaching method is just fab and really makes you remember things. I would not hesitate in buying more of Michel Thomas’ language courses.

I have never done an audio course which I have enjoyed doing as much as this one. The teaching method is just fab and really makes you remember things. I would not hesitate in buying more of Michel Thomas’ language courses. He’s been teaching languages for over 50 years and he obviously knows what he is doing. He is even considerate enough to provide another extension to the course. This is his own Language Builder – I haven’t tried this one out yet but apparently it provides you with vocabulary and more grammar (if that’s even possible) and if it has Michel Thomas on the CD it cant be half bad!

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BBC SUENOS WORLD SPANISH 2 REVIEW

bbc-intermediate-suenos-world-spanish-2An independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

Suenos World Spanish 2 is the follow on Spanish language course from Suenos World Spanish 1. It is £39.99 which again is a reasonable price as you are getting a course book as well as 4 CDs with authentic Spanish conversations and not staged ones.

The course book is divided into 10 units and each of these units has four main sections: asi se habla 1 (where new language is given and presented), asi se habla 2 (building on the language you already know), un paso mas (listening to spoken Spanish and understanding written Spanish) and temas (cultural aspects of Spain and Latin America). This is one aspect that makes the BBC Suenos course stands out as it doesn’t just talk about Spain, but other Spanish speaking countries too which many other courses tend to leave out.

Following the 10 units there is a reference section which includes self tests, reference grammar, answer keys, transcripts of what you have listened to on the CD and a Spanish to English glossary – in other words you get a lot of extras for your money.

The ‘presenter’ who take you through the course are Julio and Carmella (even their names sound genuinely Spanish) and they both have convincing Spanish accents.The BBC have adapted the tasks so that you can continue to learn Spanish without the book, meaning you could take it on the bus with you to do or sit down and have a go during your lunch hour without necessarily dragging the book along with you.

The dialogues on the CDs are in Spanish and then afterwards you have the English repeated. After the English the Spanish is repeated and then you have to repeat and practice saying it. After this second repetition, instead of repeating the exact same thing they change the dialogue to the other way round. For example: why would people in England want to learn Spanish has turned to why would Spanish people learn English? They then pose questions to which you have to give the answers. I think this is a great way of learning without actually realising how much you have learnt. The repetition really makes the new words and phrases stick in your head and you remember a lot more than you think you do.

This CD course is great as it doesn’t use only Castillian … Spanish … , but also Mexican Spanish … I think this is a good way of hearing the different accents side by side.
This CD course is great as it doesn’t use only Castillian or Continental Spanish (as in Spain), but also Mexican Spanish. The units incorporate Spanish speakers from different Spanish speaking countries, for example Jorge from Mexico visits Laura in Madrid, I think this is a good way of hearing the different accents side by side. You can tell the difference in the accent and I found that this was helpful as after I had learnt Spanish, I went to Mexico as part of my gap year, and at the time I found it harder to understand what they were saying as I had never heard the Mexican accent before. It is a little like hearing and learning English from courses using only the Queen’s English and then coming to England and hearing a Bristolian or a Liverpudlian speak.

The units in the book work alongside the CDs. There are exercises where you have to listen to the dialogues and then answer the questions. I found this really useful as you had to listen and answer the questions rather than just listen and not really take anything in. Sometimes the answers to the questions were said a little fast, and before I got a chance to answer myself, but I just stopped the CD and skipped back to the start. I think the speed of the dialogues were right as they were real Spanish people speaking. In real life, this is what you would hear if you asked someone in the street or were having a telephone conversation with someone. In other words this Spanish language course prepares you for real life situations rather than just making you learn words and grammar constructions.

The CDs and the associated exercises obviously get harder as you go along, CD1 acted more of a revision of the previous course and you weren’t introduced to a huge amount of new words or grammar. However, as you get further along with the course, the dialogues do get longer and while there are still English repetitions, there are not as many and only when the new vocabulary is learnt.

This intermediate level Spanish language course was everything that I expected from BBC languages and I am glad they didn’t let me down with this course. Although it is a comprehensive course, I enjoyed learning and it didn’t feel like a chore.

Buena suerte!

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BBC QUICKSTART SPANISH REVIEW

bbc-quickstart-spanishAn independent language review by Sarah Maddocks

BBC Quickstart Spanish is a 140-minute audio language course on 2 CDs, designed to be an all listening, little reading, no writing kind of course. It’s aimed at people who want to learn the basic ‘holiday’ vocabulary and who don’t want to know the ins and outs of the grammar. The Spanish CD follows three friends, Susana, Miguel & Alex for 24 hours around Madrid. The 24-hour ‘language adventure’ is split into sections, each one dealing with a different situation that you are likely to come across when travelling.

When I first plugged my headphones in I couldn’t wait to get started as I hadn’t studied Spanish for a very long time and wanted a refresher course before booking a holiday. As soon as I pressed play I decided that maybe I should have waited! The CD greeted me with the typical language learning music, supposedly from the country whose language you are learning (cue the flamenco guitar playing!!), and the corny joke of “Susana & Miguel, two friends, purely platonic” (cue fake laughter). It really made me think that this was going to be a tacky learning course which I wouldn’t be able to listen to for one minute – let alone 140 of them! But I’m pleased that I didn’t press stop and give up. I managed to learn to block the music and the bad jokes out of my head long enough to learn some new Spanish and refresh the old Spanish that I already had.

The CDs each have seven episodes with two conversations on each. The episodes are split into four separate sections, “time to listen” (listening to the conversations), “time to reflect” (explaining the conversation) “time to kickstart” (practicing pronunciation & language) and “time to recap” (seeing what you have learnt). These sections are overall well-structured and useful when learning the language. The only thing that does get irritating is the repetition of “right, now it’s time to kickstart your Spanish” (by the way it’s a play on ‘quickstart’. Pure genius!).

The subjects of the sections are typical day-to-day topics which will be needed when in the country, i.e. CD1 covers everything from “hola (hello)” to buying postcards & stamps, while CD2 covers going out and dealing with any problems you might come across.

… they don’t overload you with the grammar, but they give you enough to get by if people ask you something that isn’t included on the course.

In the “time to reflect” section, there are often very basic grammar tips. This is ace as they don’t overload you with the grammar, but they give you just enough to get by and adapt what is on the CD if people ask you something that isn’t included on the course. By the end of episode two, you already know two of the pronouns and verb endings for one of the most commonly used verbs. But don’t get too excited, as you still have the corniness of language learning CDs shining thorough in this section (“now do you think you’ve got a few greetings under your belt” is just a little taster of what you have to come)! Obviously the grammar isn’t a huge part of the course, as this is primarily an audio course. It would defeat the object if you had to write down all the grammar. I think this is a fab way of doing grammar, as I always used to get unbelievably bored doing verb drills. This way you learn the most common verbs without having to do the boring bit.

The course is accompanied by a small phrasebook and a transcript of all the conversations. This is very helpful when doing the course as you can also learn to recognise the Spanish words written down, rather than just recognising them from speaking. Some phrases are a little obscure if you’re only spending 24 hours in Spain. For example the BBC have included “te quiero” meaning I love you – I’m not 100% sure if this is the BBC implying that you will find love if you know Spanish and are on holiday!

As far as the speaking on the CD is concerned, the Spanish is not too fast and not too slow. There is a slight change in the speed of the Spanish after Episode 1, but the narrators do not jump straight into reeling off Spanish so fast that the only words that you get are the first and last ones. On the contrary, the speed is slow enough to hear the intonation and the way the individual letters are spoken by native speakers. Each episode also gives you the chance to repeat what has been said straight after the native speaker. This is good, but I couldn’t help thinking that maybe I was pronouncing it wrong (but to me it sounds exactly like the CD!). I suppose the only way I could try this out was to go to Spain. So I’ll let you know how it goes and if people understand my Bristolian turned Spanish accent!

Overall I think this course is an effective and fast way of learning basic touristy Spanish. It also gives a starter block to go on into more in depth Spanish (bear in mind this may be more grammar!!). The course is available in other languages such as French, German and Italian and I will definitely consider the Italian CDs. I’m not sure how well a Bristolian accent would sound trying to be Italian, but I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

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BBC GET INTO SPANISH REVIEW

bbc-spanish-get-intoAn independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

Get Into Spanish is apparently the ultimate interactive learning experience from the BBC. It certainly seemed to be that way – the language pack contains 2 PC CD-ROMs, a book, audio CDs and access to online learning resources.

The CD-ROM is the main part of the course. It has two CD-ROMs, with CD1 being the installation CD and CD2 being the language course. The CD-ROM has eight language units which include animated dialogue, interactive activities and learning support which gives you the opportunity to listen, speak, read and write the language. You have to download the program onto your hard drive and this took my computer around 10 minutes to complete which isn’t very long at all (since it’s three programs altogether) and while you are waiting for this to load up it is the perfect opportunity to have a flick through the book.

Once the CD-ROM is loaded you can create a character which will be you in the program. You can choose your hair colour and clothes, and all this helps you to really feel like you are involved in the course and that it has been made just for you. The CD-ROM is easy to use and pretty self explanatory but there is a “how to use this CD-ROM” section just in case.

You can choose which areas you would like to learn through navigation via a map of the town. You click on the different places to take part in the different role plays, for example, I clicked on the hotel and took part in role plays about checking in/out, booking a room and making a complaint. You can choose to learn some things about the situation first such as vocabulary, or you can enter straight into the “have a go” section. The “have a go” section is listening to the Spanish speaker and then recording your answer. In this way, you can interact with the program and compare your answer to that of a Spanish speaker. This helps as you can hear what words you are pronouncing correctly or incorrectly and it gives you an incentive to improve. You can also choose to “zoom in” on certain areas of the screen. I clicked on a price list on the wall which was then enlarged for me and I could then choose to translate the text. This is a fab way of learning new vocab and it’s not forced upon you, which makes you want to learn even more.

The only thing that was annoying with this CD-ROM was that you needed a microphone to be able to complete the role plays. If you haven’t got one built into your computer or laptop, then you are advised to buy one which would cost even more money on top of the course. But the CD-ROM does have a wow factor and personally I absolutely loved it. The BBC really have found a fun way of learning a language and have made it very modern and funky. It felt like I was playing a computer game like “The Sims” rather than actually doing something educational.

“You can choose your own hair colour and clothes for your character in the course. It felt like I was playing a computer game like The Sims rather than actually doing something educational.”

The Get Into Spanish book is designed to help you to refresh and revise the Spanish already learnt on the CD-ROM. It has 10 units and covers the GCSE areas of the language such as eating and drinking and asking for directions. The book is a handy size which meant it was easy for me to carry in my bag and read on the bus. I found it very useful that it was a standalone book so you didn’t have to sit and do the CD-ROM at the same time.

The book has 10 units and each is loosely connected to the CD-ROM. In each unit you have a CD-ROM box section (there’s a little picture of a CD-ROM so very straightforward to know when to refer to the CD-ROM if you need to), then there’s the cultural rule bit, where they tell you when to use certain tenses, pronouns etc; for me this was a plus to this language course as the last thing I would want to do in Spain is be rude to someone within the first hour of arriving. You also have a key vocabulary box which makes it easier. The book is very interactive and gives you exercises to complete. This is a good way of getting people to practise what they have learnt. I don’t know about you, but when I read a book and there is nothing interesting to do I often don’t take in what I have learnt. This book allows me to practise my newly learnt Spanish and helps me to remember what I have learnt.

At the back of the book, there is a grammar section with basic-intermediate grammar information. I found this great as when I learn a language, grammar is the hardest part for me to learn as its boring (at least I’m being honest!). But with this book, all the grammar is laid out in small chunks and it doesn’t go into too much depth and so is not boring to look at and learn. Throughout the book there are ‘have a go’ sections and luckily the book provides the answers at the end. In the past I have had to buy answer books to accompany certain language learning courses, so this way I can see if I have got it right without having to buy a whole new separate book.

Finally, the audio CD is a way to develop your listening skills and improve your level of learning. As usual, you have the token English tourist trying to find their way around the town. This time it is a British web designer called Simon who travels to Alicante.

The audio CD comes with a separate book where all the conversations are written down, so if you so find it hard you can look at the words as they are being said. At first it is hard to concentrate especially when Simon’s London accent comes out when he speaks Spanish but after the first couple of sentences you get used to it. The speed of the Spanish is at a level where if you are a beginner and have completed the other parts of the course you will have no trouble understanding it. This is also good for people who have previously done Spanish and want to refresh it.

The telephone calls that Simon makes to his friend and business partner are slightly annoying as they are like telephone calls on a soap opera when it is obvious there is no one on the other end! The conversations are quite fun, without giving too much away it turns out that Simon helps the police with a problem they have been having. Unlike other CDs I have listened to they add in fun conversation and words that you would be unlikely to learn otherwise, even the words “you look like a gangster” are thrown in.

You can buy the CD-ROM separately to the audio CD and book. But to be honest I think the best way to “get into” Spanish is to buy the whole set. All of the parts were so helpful and it never got boring, which for me is a huge thing.

“You can buy the CD-ROM separately to the audio CD and book. But to be honest I think the best way to “get into” Spanish is to buy the whole set. All of the parts were so helpful and it never got boring, which for me is a huge thing.”

In my opinion the BBC were correct to describe this as the ultimate interactive learning experience – it certainly is that. With all the material and resources given in the pack, it is definitely an ace way of learning Spanish thoroughly. They seem to cover every basic situation and give you lots of information but keeping it fun at the same time, so it doesn’t feel like a chore to sit down and do the course. I would recommend this 100% to anyone who wants to learn Spanish in an entertaining and different way.

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BBC BUONGIORNO ITALIAN REVIEW

bbc-beginner-buongiorno-italiaAn independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

Buongiorno Italia is a beginner’s Italian language course from the BBC (and already I am slightly prejudiced as I love the courses that the BBC produce). The course comes complete with 3 x 60 minute audio CDs and over a 300-page course book.

The CDs and book are divided into 20 short units and the book contains dialogues, language notes, information about Italy and vocabulary and practice activities. The CDs are designed to help develop listening and speaking skills with pronunciation practice, conversations and interviews.
The course book has a grammar section, pronunciation sections and an answer section which gives the answers to the activities. At random intervals (well they seem randomly placed), there are sections called lettre A, B, and so on – this is a transcript of the audio on the CD. You can then answer questions in the book, which mirrors the type of thing you would have to do in a GCSE exam. The book is designed to be used alongside the CDs as they contain dialogues and interactive exercises to do whilst listening.

The woman who introduces the course sounds a little odd at first. I’m not sure if she is an authentic Italian or from England. Some of her words sound like she has an Italian accent, whereas with others, she sounds like she has never left England. I prefer it when you have a native speaker (I suppose she could be a native speaker and have lived in England for a long while!).

The CD starts by giving you a list of Italian words, but you are not told what they are in English. You have to pronounce the words after you hear them, but I didn’t really like this bit of the course, as I like to know what it is I am saying first (but then I’m no language course designer and I’m sure the BBC do know what they’re doing!). The exercises during the course are really helpful to test what you have picked up. The number exercise was good as they use a conversation in a bar scenario and you have to listen and then pick out the numbers you have heard. The conversation was at a good pace and so the exercise wasn’t too difficult (this was a real confidence boost as I had never learnt Italian before and to be able to recognise numbers already was fantastic).

The course instructions are given to you in Italian and then repeated in English, this is a good way of learning instructions as they are repeated throughout the course so you are picking up new language without even realising it.

I didn’t just want a language course which gave me the holiday basics without the cultural background or the grammar of the language. The BBC offers you the whole linguistic package and it is definitely worth a go!

I found Italian quite easy to understand as it is similar to Spanish which I’d already been learning. It was easy for me to deduce what was being said, rather than to have to look up every word in a dictionary. The course doesn’t give you every single word that is said, they just give you the key vocabulary and expressions. I found this better; as firstly it is not repetitive and secondly it makes you feel you are picking up the language a lot faster.

After each new section there is a summary of what you have just learnt, with a very basic grammar note. There are also interactive activities, but I found that I couldn’t do these without listening to the section on the CD a couple more times so I could get the hang of it.

The dialogues on the CD are useful to hear Italian in everyday contexts and to get used to the Italian accent. I found some of the pronunciation difficult. When reading the course book, a lot of the words were similar to French and Spanish and I had a tendency to say the words with a French accent, which was, of course, completely wrong. I decided to bang the pronunciation into my head and listened to the CDs more and more to get used to saying it differently – this seemed to work, although I suppose I will see when I speak to an authentic Italian!

Throughout the course book, after each section you can learn more about the country and culture of Italy. I found this a good way of taking a break from the course and I was still learning about the country rather than just stopping the CD for 10 minutes. A sort of educational break if you like.

Overall this course is great. The Italian that I learnt is more than enough to be able to go to Italy and have a proper conversation with the locals. This is what I look for in a language course – I didn’t just want a course which gave me the holiday basics without the cultural background or the grammar of the language. The BBC offers you the whole linguistic package and it is definitely worth a go! Dieci out of dieci for me!

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BBC Quickstart

Quickstart language cure for time-stretched Brits
Research by BBC Languages has revealed that 50% of people cite lack of time as the reason for giving up learning a foreign language, which is why we have devised a new series of audio CDs – Quickstart – designed specifically for those of you who don’t have much time on your hands! [Read more…]

Teach Yourself Conversation

Are you lost for words when speaking a language?
Picture the scene: You’ve arrived at the airport in Spain, excitedly clutching your suitcase and sun hat, when you ask an airport official in your best phrasebook Spanish where the taxi rank is. It seems to work as he replies straightaway …… but that’s where the conversation ends!

[Read more…]

ITALIAN LANGUAGE COURSES FOR KIDS

language advantage brings you the best and most innovative language courses for children to learn Italian. Get the Italian language advantage for kids!


01 learn Italian using BBC Muzzy

bbc-muzzy-20th-anniversary-edition-level-1The BBC Muzzy courses are world renowned as a complete introduction to language learning for kids. They include DVDs, CDs, workbooks and much more. This course is ideal for children aged between 3 and 12 learning Italian. Check the DVD region for your country!
Find out more about BBC Muzzy Italian language courses from the BBC Shop>>

02 carry an electronic Italian dictionary translator

Fun and colourful, this handheld dictionary will give your kids the Italian word they are looking for immediately. It will help build their vocabulary, especially when used on location in an Italian-speaking country!
more information and to buy a dictionary translator from Ectaco>>

03 get an Italian-speaking Language Littles toy doll

kids-italian-language-littles-dollThese lovely little toy dolls will enchant your child, and will also help them learn a language while playing – these dolls speak Italian as well as English! Each Language Little will recite between 25 and 30 phrases with the help of a sound chip in the dollâ??s tummy – including greetings, numbers, colours and days of the week. Language Littles toy dolls are not currently available on amazon.co.uk.
for more information and to buy, browse our Language Advantage Kids store on amazon.com>>

04 Vocabulary Builder Learn Italian

kids-italian-vocabulary-builderA CD-ROM for children who are beginning in Italian, with speech recognition, so that your kids can record their voices and then play them back in a cinema show! Great fun and packed full of games. Over 100 words including colours, numbers, actions and simple sentences.   For ages from 4 to 12 – but popular with adults too!
for more information and to buy, browse our Language Advantage Kids shop on amazon.co.uk>>
for more information and to buy, browse our Language Advantage Kids store on amazon.com>>


Other ways to learn Italian for kids:
more Italian language courses and dictionaries for children on amazon.co.uk>>
more Italian language courses and dictionaires for children on amazon.com>>
more Italian language cd-rom software for children on amazon.co.uk>>
more Italian language cd-rom software for children on amazon.com>>

 


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GERMAN LANGUAGE COURSES FOR KIDS

language advantage brings you the best and most innovative language courses for children to learn German. Get the German language advantage for kids!


01 learn German using BBC Muzzy

bbc-muzzy-20th-anniversary-edition-level-2The BBC Muzzy courses are world renowned as a complete introduction to language learning for kids. They include DVDs, CDs, workbooks and much more. This course is ideal for children aged between 3 and 12 learning German. Check the DVD region for your country!
Find out more about BBC Muzzy German language courses from the BBC Shop>>

02 carry an electronic German dictionary translator

Fun and colourful, this handheld dictionary will give your kids the German word they are looking for immediately. It will help build their vocabulary, especially when used on location in a German-speaking country!
more information and to buy a dictionary translator from Ectaco>>
 

03 get a German-speaking Language Littles toy doll

kids-german-language-littles-dollThese lovely little toy dolls will enchant your child, and will also help them learn a language while playing – these dolls speak German as well as English!  Each Language Little will recite between 25 and 30 phrases with the help of a sound chip in the doll’s tummy – including greetings, numbers, colours and days of the week. Language Littles toy dolls are not currently available on amazon.co.uk.
for more information and to buy, browse our Language Advantage Kids store on amazon.com>>

04 Vocabulary Builder Learn German

kids-german-vocabulary-builderA CD-ROM for children who are beginning in German, with speech recognition, so that your kids can record their voices and then play them back in a cinema show! Great fun and packed full of games. Over 100 words including colours, numbers, actions and simple sentences.   For ages from 4 to 12 – but popular with adults too!
for more information and to buy, browse our Language Advantage Kids shop on amazon.co.uk>>
for more information and to buy, browse our Language Advantage Kids store on amazon.com>>


Other ways to learn German for kids:
more German language courses and dictionaries for children on amazon.co.uk>>
more German language courses and dictionaires for children on amazon.com>>
more German language cd-rom software for children on amazon.co.uk>>
more German language cd-rom software for children on amazon.com>>


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